How to get your initial users and grow πŸš€

Last update: 22nd November 2021

  • Bora Savas

    Bora Savas

    Managing Partner

Imagine you are starting a new company with no users. It's not possible, right? Not if you know the right techniques to use! In this blog post, I'm going to show you some ways to get your first 100 or 1000 users.

Design the first user experience 🎨

Many startups spend a lot of time on the idea behind their product and even more time designing a process to create it. But they often don't spend enough time designing the first user experience.

And It's no secret that the first few minutes (even seconds) of a user's interaction are crucial for their long-term engagement. The first interactions are important because they set the stage for how the user feels about your product, where they go next, and whether or not they'll come back. You need to give that "aha! moment" so that they feel "This looks interesting and I want to know more!".

This "aha! moment" is where the user realizes the value of your product. They will often want to share the product with their friends and family members, which creates word-of-mouth. The goal of this stage is for users to quickly understand how to use the product and why it's beneficial to them. So, it's better to take an in-depth look at your customers; what drives them, what frustrates them, and what keeps them coming back - before they design anything else.

But, designing the first user experience is a daunting task. Here are some tips for making sure that you're ready from day one:

  • A/B Test Your Design: Test your design on as many people as possible before fully launching it to make sure that it's as efficient as possible.
  • Use data collected from your user base to make informed decisions about what needs to be changed.
  • Keep it simple. The simpler the design, the more time users will want to spend on it and the less likely they'll be to give up on it.

Ask for word of mouth and make it insanely easy πŸ‘„

Word of mouth is one of the most powerful means of marketing. No amount of marketing can override the power of word-of-mouth because it's impartial, authentic, and personal. So, make referrals a top priority in everything you do. The truth is that people are more apt to buy something if they know that their friend bought it too. One of the reasons you are not getting word of mouth might be because you are making it hard for people to talk about what they love.

So, the best thing you can do to get word of mouth is to ask for it and make the process insanely easy. This is because word of mouth doesn't come from chance meetings or from random ads. It comes from people talking with other people, which means that if you want more, you better be ready to give more. You need to provide them with a great experience and make it insanely easy for them to refer friends. 😊

It might seem like a difficult task but there are a lot of ways to do this. You can;

  • Put together a very short concise email (which can only be copy/pasteable) to a large group of people that correspond with in some way and it had two or three lines about your product
  • Send them a link to your company’s social media profiles and ask them to like and share your posts.
  • Give them a link to your website and ask for reviews.
  • Provide a QR code with your contact information that they can easily scan and share with their friends (ie; You can instantly share your profile with a QR code on Snapchat)
  • Give them the tools they need to spread the word themselves. Like this πŸ‘‰
  • Have coupons that your customer is able to email directly to a friend from your website. (ie, Airbnb/Dropbox referral program)

It really is that simple. Most people share things because they are easy to share.

Seek out like-minded groups 🧠

One of the best ways to grow your user base is to seek out like-minded groups, a small collection of people that have already self-organized around a purpose that's somewhat related to the one you're trying to serve.

So, these are people who have similar interests or that you can provide a service for. If you're trying to start a fitness app, then the obvious place to go is where people talk about workouts and healthy living. Consider setting up a booth at a fitness expo or doing an AMA on Reddit so that users will find you organically. And offer them free trials or discounted pricing to attract.

AMA Reddit

Ray Dalio, doing Ask Me Anything on Reddit.

There are also tools such as Quora, LinkedIn, and Facebook that can help you find groups based on your interests. I recommend joining a few different communities so you can post your content in multiple places. Join the conversations, read the articles, and offer thoughtful commentary so that other members know they can trust you.

In this way, you can start building relationships with your potential customers. People will be more inclined to sign up for your service if they know you're already acquainted with many of the people related to the topic your product serves.

Know how to approach reporters πŸ“’

Reporters are always looking for the next big story. This is why it's helpful to have an email list of reporters that are likely interested in your product. A lot of people don't know this, but reporters are usually starving for story ideas. If you give them an exclusive scoop that looks good on the surface, they want it.

So, when you have a new blog post, send them a pitch. Explain to them how it's relevant to their readers and send them a link to the post. If they like what they see, they may publish it or cover it on social media.

Make sure your first email makes its case pretty well. Here are some practical tips;

Start Small


Reporters are busy people like you. You don't want to walk up to them and say that you've got an amazing idea for a story, so start small. When you first reach out, find out if they're interested in what you have to say before pitching your idea. Make sure to briefly introduce yourself and offer your expertise. If they don't seem interested at first, ask them for advice on how to present your story better. The more focused and personalized you can make your story, the higher the likelihood that they'll want to hear more.

Be concise


The reporter may work on a tight deadline and they need to quickly get their story. It's important to be concise if you want the reporter to take more interest in your story. Remember, reporters, can't focus on all stories so it's important that they see your pitch as one that they want to cover.

Concentrate on the right people and target appropriately


It's important to know who the reporter is and what they cover so that you can tailor your message accordingly. Your goal is to create a relationship with this person - someone you want to be able to call when you have news.

Tell a good, clear, easy-to-repeat story

Reporters get hundreds of pitches a day, and they're always looking for a story. Always remember that it's your job to get their attention and get them excited about the idea you want to pitch. Don't make your reporter do all the work! Layout the key points of your story in a clear and concise way, and make it easy for them to repeat. Your goal should be to answer;

  • Who's the hero of your product?
  • What's the problem?
  • How is your solution going to be unique and important?

Relate your story trends

What a reporter wants to know is what your story is trending about. If you can adequately address that question, then it will be easier for them to decide whether or not they want to hear more about your story. When you're pitching an idea, begin by explaining how you're the expert on the subject and why reporters should be hearing from you.

And understand that reporters are humans too!

Contrary to popular belief, reporters are human πŸ˜ƒ They have families, friends, and lives outside of their work. There is a misconception that they are robots who take quotes word-for-word without feeling or emotion. This isn't the case at all, so it's important to be aware of this fact when trying to approach them about your business or nonprofit organization.

Keep hustling! Keep strong! πŸ’ͺ